Tanzania: Farmers Ask Govt to Strengthen Agroecology Awareness

FARMERS in Kongwa District of Dodoma region have asked the government to build capacity among extension officers over agro ecology so that they impart such knowledge to farmers.

Agro ecology is sustainable farming that works with nature. Ecology is the study of relationships between plants, animals, people and their environment – and the balance between these relationships. Agro ecology is the application of ecological concepts and principals in farming.

They observed that, since agro ecology practices have so far proved to play a meaningful role in helping farmers to overcome severe effects of climate change in their fields it was prudent for the government to assure all farmers across the country are adopting the practices.

During the special tour of the district, the farmers who have benefited from a three-year watershed agro ecological project titled ‘Enabling a Resilient and Prosperous Community Through Participatory Agro-ecological Practices in Semi- Arid regions of Central zone’, admitted to have managed to get bumper harvest during the 2021-2022 farming season despite intermittent and unpredictable rains received during the season in central semi-arid areas of Kongwa.

“For years we have been getting poor crop yields due to the dry spell and other negative effects of climate change, but after being trained on agro ecological practices we have since managed to realise good harvest,” expressed Hilda Madeje, the project’s beneficiary farmer.

Before the inception of the project she added, crop production within the District was primarily derailed by land degradation, drought, floods among others.

Ms Bilha Mtembezi, the other beneficiary, expressed gratitude over the way professional manner has been applied in the project.

“Before the project most farmers here used to apply low-yield landrace seeds varieties that usually prompted poor yields, but with the improved seeds varieties were currently realizing enough harvests,” she appreciated.

Ms Pendo Magomba also expressed gratitude to the way the timely initiative has trained the farmers on how best to establish the Technology Hub Plot (THP) referred to as Shamba Darasa in Swahili, being among permanent learning sites used by multiple stakeholders to spearhead scaling of proven technologies at landscape level.

With the THP she said the farmers have effectively managed to improve crop yields as a result of using Fanya Juu/Fanya chini contour terraces, tied ridges (that have immensely helped in conserving moisture and preventing soil erosion and soil fertility loss).

“At my farm I grow sorghum (Macia variety), pigeon pea and maize (Tumbi 105), and through the use of an intercropping system I have managed to realise good yields,” she added.

Elirehema Swai, Coordinator for Research and Innovation at the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI)- Makutupora Centre, informed that the project was gearing to improve agricultural productivity and landscape scale natural resource management through participatory planning, diagnosis and implementation of integrated watershed management.

“The project also focuses on promotion of use of innovative and agroecological based agricultural practices that enhance sustainability and household resilience,” he insisted.

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